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Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:22 am on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Florence Eshalomi Florence Eshalomi Labour/Co-operative, Vauxhall 10:22 am, 13th March 2020

That highlights the problem for a number of parents and carers right across the country. If we pass the Bill, its measures will bring costs down significantly for a number of parents and carers across the country. However, even if it passes, the hard reality is that school uniforms will still be an expense that some of our poorest in society fail to afford. While there is support for poor families, it is at the behest of local authorities—which have also seen their budgets cut in the last 10 years—and how much support they can offer.

The proponents of school uniforms argue that they create a level playing field for children from all backgrounds and drive down inequality, but how can that be the case when parents and carers are having to fork out hundreds of pounds to pay for uniforms and when support for poorer families is based on a postcode lottery? The Bill is not to question the rights and wrongs of school uniform—I think we all agree with that—but it gives the Government the potential to create a genuine level playing field for pupils up and down the country and ensure that our children continue to learn.